Redemption | newsletter from Bethel Ministries – 01/11

January, 2011

Bethel Ministries
A Ministry of Reconciliation

This Newsletter is the 8th for Bethel Ministries (Bethel). The newsletter is sent out regularly to contributors, churches, and interested public.

Bethel, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and faith-based program in Boise, Idaho, was established to help men leaving incarceration change their lives to become law-abiding, productive members of society. Bethel provides transitional homes where the men reside in a family-type setting. During their six to twelve month stay, the men are matched with mentors, obtain employment, attend a structured program of life-skill classes, and participate in group and individual counseling.

Bethel provides an invaluable service to the families of the Treasure Valley and all Idaho by preventing many newly released prisoners from re-entering communities void of rehabilitative services necessary to help such men on the right track before being on their own within the community.

News from Bethel
On November 20, 2010, ten men were graduated from Bethel’s program. The service was held at Mountain View Church of the Brethren, Boise, Idaho and was very inspiring to all who attended. Melanie Snyder, author of “Grace Goes to Prison” was the featured speaker addressing restoration justice.

Overall, 2010 was a good year for Bethel without the financial problems that occurred in 2009. Executive Director Rob Lee and wife Allison were blessed with the birth of a baby son Charlie. Bethel generally received the support and cooperation of the staff at the Department of Corrections.

The new year of 2011 is starting off with some financial challenges. Please pray that God will provide the funds needed to continue to keep the staff going full speed ahead and to maintain Bethel housing. Please also consider a special contribution to Bethel to help out during these difficult financial times.

Bethel Presentations
If you would like a presentation at your local church, please contact Rob Lee or Chris Roberts at the e-mail addresses or phone numbers listed below.

Article from a Bethel Graduate:

Bethel to Me
Ask ten different people what Bethel ministries means to them and you could easily end up with eleven different answers.

To me and my family, the ministry means a number of things. The longer our involvement, the more varied, significant, and meaningful it becomes.

Initially to me, Bethel represented an alternative. When the parole board denied my release plans, I was left bewildered and perplexed, wondering what I would do and where I would go. I also knew that, since God had stood by my side through all my trials, I had no need to despair.

When a trusted friend, an inmate with a Master’s of Social Work degree told me about Bethel House, I was listening. He said it was a Christ-centered transition home for guys leaving prison. He said there would be other guys there who could help and support me because they would have experience with the challenges I’d be facing.

My mother was tremendously relieved, my entire family was, and I was happy to be telling her on the phone about Bethel and how highly recommended it was.

When I got there, the guys accepted me warmly and made me feel welcomed. Bethel House One was clean, had a well-tended yard, and a pleasant atmosphere. Larry, the house coordinator, took me under his wing and the other guys were eager to help. The reassurance I felt from the guys was comforting, and Bethel House indeed felt like a home.

Together, I met with the guys each morning for daily devotion and Bible study. Weekdays were spent seeking work and the evenings were spent together with the guys from the other two Bethel Houses in various discipleship classes.

One evening, I missed a class and found myself home alone. In prison, you miss privacy, you don’t miss other guys, but here I was, missing the guys. That’s when Bethel, I realized, had become more that simply an alternative, it had become a brotherhood.

By now, I was getting to know Bethel administrators and lay members of the Church of the Brethren, the church that supports the ministry and provides a place for meeting and a sanctuary to worship in.

My understanding of the Bethel program continued to expand and I was feeling more and more an active part of the church community. The forgiveness and inclusion proved a marvelous thing. God was blessing me through these children of His, and they were finding me a blessing to them. The love of God through His children was working on me, and helping to restore me to a place of wellness.

I graduated Bethel Ministries’ six month program, and what a graduation it was! The attendance was exceptional, the atmosphere ablaze with cheer, appreciation, congratulations and well-wishing.

Bethel Ministries has been a good many things to me, an alternative, a brotherhood, but more than anything, it has been proof that God’s plan for me is greater than my plans for myself.

How to help
You may donate through PayPal or send checks made payable to Bethel Ministries, PO Box 44106, Boise, Idaho 83711-0106. Your support is always greatly appreciated.

Additional ways to donate
In addition to your prayers and monetary donations, Bethel is in need of many other types of donations including household items such as kitchen ware and appliances, draperies, furniture, such as beds, chests, washers, dryers, freezers, tables and chairs, and also men’s clothing. Bethel can also use donated food. Contact Rob Lee or 208-724-1734 or Chris Roberts at 208-602-3885 about having your donated items picked up or where you may deliver them.